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At the outset, it is important to state that Amiot Guy's Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes (Old Vines) is not California Chardonnay, but then again neither is any other white Burgundy. A wholly different approach is taken in Burgundy towards Chardonnay, where the best producers like Amiot Guy aim to accentuate the breed, elegance, and charm inherent in the Chardonnay variety and emphasize the special terroir of their respective communes, rather than adapt California's preference for buxom beauty and oak laden concoctions that rely more upon power and the patina of oak to define their white wines. Consequently, the 2005 Amiot Guy Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes is a brilliant, deeply colored wine that has managed to capture just enough of the magnificent sun of the 2005 vintage to radiate from the glass a brilliant, golden-flecked robe that foreshadows the soft, sophisticated and eminent drinkability of the wine that lies within. A quintessential Chardonnay from Chassagne-Montrachet, Guy Amiot's 2005 Vieilles Vignes is an outstanding introduction to the wines of Chardonnay's most famous village. Along with its brilliant robe, the medium-bodied Amiot Guy Vieilles Vignes possesses a seductive nose that is reminiscent of acacia flowers, butter, white peach, and artful dabs of vanilla and spice – all in perfect harmony. Elegant, flavorful, and quite fulfilling even in its youth, the 2005 Amiot Guy Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes will almost certainly continue to fill out and blossom in the bottle for at least two to three more years. Enjoy this crowd pleasing, highly rewarding Chassagne-Montrachet moderately chilled (45°-50°F) or at cool room temperature (60°-64° F) to capture even more of the wine's complexity and flavor. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2011.
Amiot Guy's Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes never needs a prop to hide behind or a certain dish to make it shine, and the 2005 Amiot Guy Vieilles Vignes is no exception. In fact, this wonderful old vine Chassagne-Montrachet provides excellent companionship and a plenty of pleasure, without a morsel. However, simple seafood dishes as well as several, sophisticated seafood classics will make for a memorable evening in the company of this fine white Burgundy. Salmon, sole, and flounder are some of our favorite fish with this wine. Crab, scallops, and lobster are superb shellfish companions to a bottle of Amiot's Chassagne-Montrachet as well and may constitute our first choices with the racy 2005 Vieilles Vignes. For those craving the classics, Suprêmes de Volailles (Breast of Chicken with cream) and Escalopes de Veau (Sautéed Veal Scallops with mushrooms and cream) are two tried and true French favorites that shine in the company of this fine Chassagne-Montrachet, too, but as always ideal accompaniments should reflect your personal preferences. Bon appétit!
Domaine Amiot is one of Burgundy's finest producers of white wine, fashioning a rich portfolio of outstanding white Burgundies from the commune of Chassagne-Montrachet. Guy Amiot, the present owner and guardian of the domaine that bears his name, represents the third generation of renowned growers at this property. However, most critics are quick to point out that over the last two decades Guy has taken his splendid domaine to the next level of quality and placed it firmly in the top echelon, alongside the very finest producers in the land.
Guy's forbearer, Arsène Amiot, an adopted Parisian, began the estate in 1920 after falling in love with the golden slopes of Chassagne-Montrachet, the world's finest commune for Chardonnay. Arsène's initial purchase in the tiny village of Chassagne-Montrachet accounted for a mere 2 hectares or approximately 4.5 acres of vineyard, but what jewels Arsène had acquired. The original parcels were remarkably well chosen and still form the core of the domaine. In fact Amiot's holdings included vineyards in Les Vergers, Le Clos Saint Jean, les Caillerets and les Dents de Chien, all of which were later to be designated as Montrachet Grand Cru, the mark of the world's finest and most expensive white wines.
In spite of Arsène's great affection for his beloved village and the wines it produced, he continued to tend to his business in Paris while the family remained in Burgundy. From 1925-1935 Arsène left the cultivation of the vines to 'Père' Robe, an eminent winegrower who also devoted considerable time and talent to the vinification and estate-bottling of Amiot's wines, a practice almost unknown at the time. Traditionally, the Burgundy growers dealt with a wine broker who in turn worked with shippers or négociants, who then bottled the growers' wines. These shippers worked from their offices in Beaune or Nuits-Saint-Georges and sold an estate's wines to Parisian merchants engaged in the retail trade.
In 1930 Arsène Amiot saw the opening in Paris of a wine cellar and retail store that gave select clients a way to buy the "Grand Vins of Burgundy, delivered to their residence." The business was quickly very popular and orders flooded in. This commercial success meant Amiot could expand his domaine. By 1936, upon completion of studies in viticulture and oenology in Beaune, Pierre Amiot, one of Arsène's sons took over the business and the estate acquired several new vineyard jewels like La Maltroie, Les Champgains, and Les Macherelles. Little by little, Amiot's production began to be sold directly to individual connoisseurs and savvy restaurateurs. After the Second World War, the acquisition of prestigious parcels like Les Chaumées or Les Demoiselles added further to the estate's very well-established reputation, both in France and abroad.
In 1984, Pierre Amiot passed away after a lifetime of producing estate bottled Burgundies and the torch passed to Guy, the present owner. Guy has taken the family estate to even greater heights. After completing studies in oenology, Guy gained considerable experience working in some of the finest vineyards throughout France. He now combines modern winemaking methods with a traditional knowledge of Burgundian viticulture. He has wisely decided to retain old vines (Vieilles Vignes) and focus on bringing out the individual character and terroir in each of the wines he fashions, favoring the production of wines that are aromatic, rich and balanced, as illustrated by the remarkable quality of the vintages he has produced from 1985 until present.
In 1992, the fourth generation of the Amiot family, Thierry, entered the family business and began building a new wine cellar whose elliptical vaults are both in keeping with tradition and ideal for the natural aging of the wines. Indeed, it is good to know that the future of this great estate is assured and still in the capable hands of another Amiot.
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